Animals Asia - Until The Cruelty Ends – The Kind Owl
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Animals Asia - Until The Cruelty Ends

10% of profits from every item purchased at The Kind Owl 
goes directly to Animals Asia.
To support Animals Asia's mission to end bear-bile
 farming and animal cruelty across Asia.
Our customers are making a difference to the lives of animals every day!

The Kind Owl is proud to support Animals Asia (www.animalsasia.org), a registered UK animal welfare charity based in Hong Kong, who have fundraising offices around the world, including bear rescue sanctuaries in China and Vietnam.

 

Animals Asia's mission is to end cruelty to animals across Asia, including ending the exploitation and abuse of wild animals in Asian circuses and zoos, stopping ritual slaughters and sacrifices of animals, ending the cruel dog and cat meat trade such as the annual Yulin Festival in China, and primarily, to see freedom for every bear and rescue as many bears as they can caught up in this barbaric industry - until the cruelty ends.

 

Infographic credit: Animals Asia

In 1993 British born Dr. Jill Robinson MBE, who's Animals Asia's founder and CEO, was working as a consult for the International Fund for Animal Welfare which had taken her to Asia as part of her job. One day while working "undercover" on the job, she joined a group of tourists who were visiting a bear-bile farm and this was the first time Jill witnessed the horrors of the bear-bile extraction industry first hand.

Image credit: Animals Asia

"The vision was shocking — held in “crush” cages, were 32 endangered Asiatic Black Bears – called Moon Bears because of the beautiful yellow crescents on their chests. Nervous “popping” vocalizations echoed around the room and when I looked at their damaged bodies I knew why they were afraid. Here were animals which had been deliberately de-clawed and had their canine teeth brutally hacked away by the farmer who had taken away their defenses to make them easier to 'milk.'" - Jill Robinson

Image credit: Animals Asia

As Jill walked through the facility with her group and as the farm owner was boasting about the benefits of the bile he was harvesting from these animals, she broke away to go investigate on her own. While on her own in amongst the caged bears, suddenly she felt something touch her right shoulder. She jumped around frightened and to her surprise it was a female Moon Bear trapped in one of these tiny "crush" cages who had reached out to her.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Without thinking Jill (and in hindsight she knows this was risky) reached out and held her paw. Instead of hurting Jill with her large, razor-sharp claws which you'd think an animal who'd been so tortured and abused for years by humans would do, the bear gently squeezed her fingers looking out at Jill from behind the bars of her tiny cage.  As Jill looked into her suffering brown eyes while holding her paw, she knew she had to do something to end this unimaginable cruelty. That chance encounter with this one female Moon Bear, Jill calls Hong, sparked a movement that would later in 1998 become - Animals Asia.

Image credit: Animals Asia

“She had every right to hurt me, to exact revenge on behalf of her species for the cruelty bestowed upon them by mankind. But she did not. For just a few seconds, I looked into her beautiful brown eyes, knowing instinctively that there was nothing I could do to help her. But in those few seconds, I also knew that this individual bear, this rather surreal experience as a whole, had started something that would change my personal and professional path forever.” - Jill Robinson

Sadly Jill has never seen Hong again but she will never, ever forget that experience or her.  So much so, she's devoted 20 years trying to end the bear-bile trade since and made it her life's mission to shut down every bear-bile farm - until the cruelty ends and the LAST bear is rescued.  

“She single-handedly alerted the world to this shocking example of humans’ gross inhumanity to an intelligent animal species." - Peter Li, Associate Professor of East Asian Politics at the University of Houston-Downtown

Video credit: Orange Planet Pictures/Animals Asia

This one life-changing moment with Hong started the movement that would see Jill and her team rescue hundreds of bears over the years, often bears who've been suffering on these 'House of Horror' farms for decades of their lives.  Animals Asia have also ended bear-bile farming permanently in entire Chinese provinces, which is an outstanding achievement and all thanks to their tireless work.

So far Jill and her dedicated team at Animals Asia have rescued over 550 bears from bear-bile farms across Asia!

Image credit: Animals Asia

Despite these amazing results there's much work to be done. Currently there's still an estimated 10,000 bears caged on farms in China and 1,200 bears in Vietnam and as a non-governmental organization (NGO), Animals Asia rely on public support to continue their vital work.

Video credit: Animals Asia

"Moon bears are classified as “Vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). They are also listed in Appendix I of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) – the most critical category of endangerment – which means that no international trade in live Moon bears or Moon bear parts is allowed (except under very special circumstances). This regulation is regularly flouted in a number of countries." - Animals Asia

Bears are farmed for their gall bladder bile because it contains ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) which is used in traditional Chinese medicines, and now disturbingly, in many household products.

Image credit: Animals Asia

The bears are kept in "crush" cages, which are about the size of a phone booth, barely able to move and their claws and teeth are often hacked away by farmers to make it easier to 'milk' them.

Image credit: Animals Asia

The bile is then surgically extracted from the bears, usually by unqualified staff with no concern for the animal's welfare, using painful and inhumane procedures to collect it. 

Image credit: Animals Asia

One of these horrific methods is catheterization, which involves repeatedly pushing a steel rod into the bear's abdomen and gall bladder with little to no pain relief. Another is the 'free drip' method where a bear has a permanent perspex catheter inserted into it's gall bladder and the wound stays open indefinitely. This not only causes immense pain and suffering to the bears, but they're often just left to die if they develop infections or tumours.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Bears are usually kept in these conditions for most of their lives - that means they can suffer gruesome routine torture and remain imprisoned in those sickening "crush" cages for 20 years or more, with the only relief being from death itself.

Image credit: Cornelius Maarselar/Animals Asia

These bears are not only routinely physically tortured but psychologically damaged from the repeated abuse. If all this wasn't shocking enough, it turns out bear-bile is completely unnecessary and over 54 herbal and synthetic alternatives to producing ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) is readily available, which studies have also shown is not only cheaper but more effective.

"No one is going to die from a lack of bear-bile." - Jill Robinson

Image credit: Animals Asia

So why don't they stop? The challenge is not only negotiating with farmers to release their bears to Animals Asia's care and develop new ways with them to make a living, demonstrating to and convincing Governments, pharmaceutical companies and medical practitioners there are more profitable, effective and safe cruelty-free alternatives but ultimately changing centuries old traditions and beliefs in Asian culture.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Also although bear-bile farming is illegal in Vietnam laws are usually not enforced so it once thrived. Anne Lloyd-Jones of Animals Asia noted that the "TCM body has pledged that it's members will not prescribe bile after 2020 and roughly 1200 bears on bile farms currently remain." While in China bear-bile farming is still legal and with animal welfare laws virtually non-existent these bears suffer brutally without consequences.

Image credit: Animals Asia

This is where Animals Asia steps in. This remarkable team of people rescue as many bears as they can from this nightmare and no bear is forgotten. Even if farmers cannot be convinced to release all bears, Animals Asia returns again and again until all bears get any treatment they need and are finally free, for years if need be - no one is left behind.

Caesar before he was rescued by Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Caesar after he was rescued by Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Although these bears can never be released back into the wild due to many being held captive since they were cubs or so badly damaged they'd never survive without help, they're taken to Animals Asia's spacious, scenic bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam. Here they can live out the remainder of their lives free to play, roam, climb, socialise, swim and do what bears were born to do, plus they're spoilt with treats and toys but most importantly - they're free from cruelty forever.

Video credit: Animals Asia

"Most people who know me will know that I say the animals rescue us as much as we rescue them. Our bear sanctuaries in China and Vietnam are described as “food for the soul,” and the sheer privilege of seeing animals who originally arrived and were described as 'broken bears' and are now bright-eyed and curious, with days spent enjoying choices, is indescribable." - Jill Robinson, The New York Times interview.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Video credit: Animals Asia

Animals Asia have also created a program called Healing Without Harm with thousands of pharmacies and traditional medical practitioners coming to an agreement with Animals Asia to never stock bear-bile again, and the number is only growing.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Encouragingly there's also wave of change happening in Asia right now with an ever increasing number of the public outraged at animal welfare issues and attitudes are beginning to change. A 2011 poll by Animals Asia found that 87 percent of Chinese people interviewed disagree with the cruel practice of bear bile.

Image credit: Animals Asia

"The trend of China's animal lovers standing up to cruelty shows no signs of stopping in 2015, and evidence is growing that the country's home-grown animal welfare organisations are ready to make a difference." - Jill Robinson

In addition to Animals Asia's tireless work to end bear-bile farming they're also fighting other animal welfare issues across Asia, such as the dog and cat meat trade.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Dogs and cats are slaughtered for their meat all year in Asia. Their fur and skin is also used to make leather, fur trims on clothing and in other products that sometimes sneak into Western markets despite importation bans by most Western countries. Some of these dogs and cats are even much loved family pets that have been stolen or strays snatched from the street.

Image credit: Animals Asia

These dogs and cats caught up in this barbaric trade are tortured sadistically before they die - beaten, burned, boiled and skinned alive for their meat.  These poor animals are also crammed together into tiny, filthy, inhumane cages terrified and barely able to move, denied any food or water, their muzzles sometimes tied shut and they're often riddled with disease.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

Image credit: Animals Asia

 No animal should ever be subjected to such fear, terror and cruelty but these dogs and cats that are victims of this disgusting trade also have to witness other animals being slaughtered and tortured as they await their own gruesome fate.

Image credit: Pinterest

It's hard to imagine this could even happen in today's world but thankfully Animals Asia are there to shine a light into the darkness - they're on the ground fighting to end this barbaric cruelty all year round and rescue dogs and cats from this horror.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Video credit: Animals Asia

Every year in China they also hold a 10 day 'festival' called the Yulin Dog Meat Festival where 10,000+ dogs have been reported butchered each year and Animals Asia have been advocating for years to end it - last year in 2015 their 'End Yulin Festival' campaign reached over 248,000 signatures and it was reported that the number of dogs killed that year had dropped significantly to about 3,000.

Image credit: Animals Asia

As this number of traders and buyers slowly dwindles, thousands of dogs and cats are saved from this savage cruelty, largely thanks to Animals Asia's dedicated efforts, campaigns and the public's support.

Image credit: Animals Asia

In 2016 Animals Asia also successfully ended a "buffalo stabbing" festival in Vietnam where a buffalo is tied up and repeatedly stabbed with spears until it dies a slow, agonising death - all for a fertility ritual.

Image credit: Animals Asia

Also in Vietnam, Animals Asia have been advocating and pressuring the Government to end a ritual pig slaughter festival where pigs are held upside down with ropes tied to their hooves, their limbs are sprawled apart and then the pig is sliced in half alive with a sword. This horrific execution of pigs, where the pigs are heard screaming as they die, is because the participants believe this ritual sacrifice will bring them good luck. It's animal cruelty such as this that Animals Asia are passionately committed to ending.

Image credit: Animals Asia

“We need to break the link between celebration and animal cruelty. Tradition and history don’t need to be celebrated with violence and cruelty." - Dr. Tuan Bendixsen, Animals Asia Vietnam Director.

Animals Asia have also been fighting hard for circus and zoo animals in Asia to rescue them from a life of exploitation and abuse. In 2016 they successfully alerted the world to the plight of Pizza the Polar bear - the tragic polar bear that suffers for selfies. This poor Polar bear is being held inside China's Grandview Aquarium for tourists and shoppers' mindless 'entertainment', living in a shockingly small fish-bowl like enclosure with no sunlight, no enrichment and no company.

Video credit: Animals Asia

It's evident this bear is suffering greatly, both physically and psychologically. Animals Asia are campaigning to rescue Pizza and so far over 850,000 people have signed Animals Asia's petition to the owners at Grandview Aquarium. A 10-acre sanctuary in England has offered to take Pizza, however so far the owners and Chinese authorities have refused to release the bear into their care. 

Image credit: Animals Asia

Animals Asia need ongoing funding and support to help them rescue this bear and continue their inspirational work saving other animals just like Pizza the Polar bear. The work Animals Asia do is one of kindness and compassion, and we're honoured they've partnered with us so we can support their causes.

It's you, our wonderful customers, who are helping Animals Asia end these horrific animal cruelties and more - just by enjoying our products! Each and every one of you is making a real difference to the lives of these animals with every purchase from The Kind Owl!

 

"What has been incredible is how many people have joined us in this journey. Cruelty happens in the dark and now millions of people are helping to shine a light on it. We need everyone to keep believing that cruelty can end – because it can." - Jill Robinson

Image credit: Animals Asia

On behalf of The Kind Owl and Animals Asia, THANK YOU! 

Image credit: Animals Asia